Whenever there’s a musical production featuring a guest artist on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, I usually get an invite. As a result, my knowledge of contemporary music has quadrupled.
A few months ago, I was at the studio to watch the Pussycat Dolls perform. (They air on May 13.) I wasn’t sure — or I just wasn’t listening — about what premise would bring them to Llanview. So I was in the lobby at the studio and noticed a large number of teenage girls walking around in prom dresses. Brainiac that I am, I figured out that the Dolls would be singing at the Llanview High prom. One of the extras’ moms confirmed this.
Whenever there are many extras in a scene, especially children, that triples the amount of people who are in the studio. There’s the actual paid day player, his or her guardian (usually a parent) and a friend of the parent who is a big OLTL fan. I often try to pump the parents for details — they don’t know anything — but one mother did tell me that they were outfitted by the wardrobe department — which must have been quite a chore, as there were at least 40 teens, half girls and half boys.
The main teens — Cole (Brandon Buddy), Starr (Kristen Alderson), Langston (Brittany Underwood) and Markko (Jason Tam) — all looked wonderful (but of course, the only time Cole didn’t look wonderful was when he was detoxing from pills). My favorite dress was Langston’s — quite a dramatic gown.
I must confess that while I had heard about the Pussycat Dolls, I didn’t know how many there were or what the band members looked like. However, when several women came out wearing black fishnet stockings and very little clothing (notably red, plaid, super-short shorts), I was pretty sure they were the Dolls.
Executive producer Frank Valentini was on the floor directing the number, which involved many run-throughs of the song; also keep in mind that the more people who are in a scene, the more time it takes to tape it. (The Dolls perform a English version of the Oscar-winning song “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire. It’s a lively tune, which the kids in the room seemed to enjoy.)
A beautifully dressed Rachel (Daphnee Duplaix) was one of the chaperones for the night. The musical scene was taped weeks before the other scenes involving the prom — the antics by Lola (Camila Banus), the material with Matthew (Eddie Alderson), anything involving Cole and Starr — were done. That was to accommodate the Dolls’ touring schedule. They were the warm-up act for Britney (as in Spears), although the lead singer, Nicole Scherzinger, actually didn’t perform with Britney that night because of a cold and a sore throat. In fact, I overheard some of the OLTL production staff mention getting some cold medication.
After a few takes, Valentini and some of his people watched one take on a monitor near me. I heard Valentini say, “That was pretty damn perfect.”
And it really was.